A couple of weeks ago, a friend shared with me news of the photography book “Breastfeeding Goddesses” by Ivette Ivens, due for release in conjunction with her forthcoming exhibition “I Breastfeed my Toddler”. I haven’t got permission to publish the photos here, but you can take a peek at some of the photos found within here.
The idea of the book is that “Breastfeeding can be messy, uncomfortable, and even painful at times”. Ok so no big revelations there. So what’s my beef?
It’s the second part of its objective I have a problem with…
“….but the mother’s inner consciousness tells another story. The images in this book depict the way each woman feels while nursing…pure, beautiful, saintly, celestial. She is a beauty in an ancient mural. A powerful miracle in the snow. A golden ray on the snow.”
…..errrr come again?
Don’t get me wrong, once we finally got the knack of it, I absolutely loved breastfeeding my little girl, and the special deep-rooted beauty of it, but saintly? celestial? an ancient mural? These were definitely NOT things I felt during pretty much any of our feedings, no matter what time of the day or night. I was just lost in the moment. WHO ARE THESE WOMEN??!
My problem is, that if this book is supposed to make people realize that breastfeeding is a normal process of life – which is most certainly is and I can’t fault that – then perhaps the photos should look a little less like the mothers just fell down from the heavens?
Mothers have a hard enough time feeling totally unglamorous, especially when one of their breasts is spewing milk angrily like a geyser. In my view, what we need to see is more of are these kind of wonderfully, unstylised shots which were recently Tweeted to me by photographer Josh Ross of Josh Ross Creative, which to me, convey the message that breastfeeding is a natural part of life far more appropriately than the stylized shots found in Breastfeeding Goddesses.
With the recent trend for #Brelfies, there seems to be a newfound interest in the aesthetics of breastfeeding, and I say, anything that goes towards making mothers feel more comfortable breastfeeding openly in public can only be a good thing, but let’s just make sure we keep it real, rather than adding to any unnecessary pressure of looking celestial yeah?
So are you a breastfeeding goddess or real life breastfeeder? I am guessing I know the answer to that one…